Northrop Unveils New Bomb-Disarming Robot

Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC  ) has a new warbot.

To great ballyhoo, the defense contractor announced Friday that its latest-generation "unmanned ground vehicle," or UGV, the CUTLASS, will be on display at the Counter Terror Expo in London this week.

Northrop says the CUTLASS, described as primarily an explosive ordnance disposal, or bomb-disposal bot, "is more dexterous, cost effective, and, as a package, four times faster than any other UGV" in its class. CUTLASS is equipped with a three-fingered, "state-of-the-art gripper and has nine degrees of freedom for greater movement and agility inside limited spaces," the company notes. Unlike other bomb-bots, such as iRobot's (NASDAQ: IRBT  ) ubiquitous PackBot, the CUTLASS runs on wheels rather than tracks, enabling it to reach speeds of up to 12 kph (about 7 miles per hour).

Northrop now has some 2,000 UGVs in operation around the world. It designed the CUTLASS specifically for use in the United Kingdom, where Northrop's UGV business is based.

In addition to the CUTLASS, Northrop makes the following other UGV models:

  • The 700-plus pound Wheelbarrow tracked bot.
  • The smaller, 485-pound, wheeled-and-tracked Andros.
  • The even smaller, 185-pound, tracked Caliber.

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